Sol LeWitt - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist; John Weber Gallery; Private collection, Italy

  • Exhibited

    Hartford, Wadsworth Athenium, Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings 1968 – 1981, December 1, 1981 – January 31, 1982; Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings, March 2 – April 23, 1984

  • Literature

    S. Singer, ed., Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings, 1968-1984, Amsterdam, 1984, pl. 41 (illustrated); S. LeWitt, Sol LeWitt in Italia, Perugia, 1998, p. 84 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Sol LeWitt’s ability to combine philosophical discourse with artistic creation helped pave the way for the advent of Conceptual art in the late 1960s. In fact, he was one of the first artists to use the Conceptual label, and pronounced that it is the idea that is the heart of his work while the visual manifestation is incidental. Many of LeWitt’s wall drawings were done by groups of art students whom he supervised in a manner reminiscent of Renaissance apprenticeships: the master artist provided the concept and apprentices gave it visual form and, in doing so, aided their own intellectual and creative development. His wall drawings’ transitory nature plays down notions of permanence and personal genius— historically important values inWestern art—in favor of cooperative ventures and works that exist first and last as ideas. 
    Lewitt wrote in 1970, “The wall drawing is a permanent installation, until destroyed,” yet he knew that while instances of his drawing might be perishable, his ideas were not. Much of what he designed consisted of specific ideas or instructions to be contemplated, or of plans for drawings to be carried out. LeWitt’s wall drawings include instructions for their re-creation, with allowances made for the variety of prospective settings. His visual language, as this work demonstrates, is an accessible one composed of straight lines, three colors, and a flat surface.Wall drawings, which are key to LeWitt’s reputation as one of the fathers of Conceptual art, provoke associations between human kind’s ancient tradition of drawing or painting on walls—from cave paintings to Roman and Renaissance frescoes—and make it relevant to a post-modern ethos.

  • Artist Biography

    Sol LeWitt

    American • 1928 - 2007

    Connected to the Conceptual and Minimalist art movements of the 1960s and '70s, the artist and theorist Sol LeWitt was a pivotal figure in driving 'idea' art into the mainstream art discourse. Redefining what constituted a work of art and its genesis, LeWitt explored these ideas through wall drawings, paintings, sculptures, works on paper and prints.

    Using a prescription to direct the creation of a work, the artist's hand subordinated to the artist's thoughts, in direct contrast to the Abstract Expressionist movement earlier in the century. Actions, forms and adjectives were broken down into terms, serially repeated and reconfigured: grids, lines, shapes, color, directions and starting points are several examples. These directives and constructs fueled an influential career of vast variety, subtlety and progression.

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Wall Drawing #41


A wall divided into four parts based on architectural points, each part with lines in three directions and three colors

Installation dimensions variable. To be installed by the LeWitt Studio.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $254,500

Contemporary Art Part I

14 May 2009, 7pm
New York